they Were the 22.23 of the past Sunday October 6. Someone sat down before a keyboard to put fake ads on Facebook. In just an hour and 20 minutes pretended to be a supporter of we Can, of Citizens and of the PSOE to put 11 ads in four different pages: countervailing power, The Orange, I don’t Vote and Recover the PSOE. The move, which sought to impact more than a million users of this social network, will cost about 3,000 euros. All messages were aimed at criticizing the party that seemed to support or encourage abstention.
Ager sent in just one hour dozens of direct messages from Twitter
According to the transparency information provided by Facebook, those four pages were managed by Javier Ager Solano, a young man from Murcia supporter of the PP. When THE COUNTRY revealed his name last Wednesday, Ager sent in just one hour dozens of direct messages of Twitter to ensure that the information published by this newspaper was not true, that he would dismiss from his employment and that he had not done anything of what was contained in the report. Ager, who had not responded to previous messages of this newspaper, neither knew nor wished to clarify why his name appeared in the library of ads on Facebook linked to eight pages of different political parties. Only repeated that he had done nothing. After deleted his Twitter account and stopped responding.
THE COUNTRY has analyzed the behavior of the ads from this network of 10 pages fake. Detect patterns of coordination. At least two people on your account have been assembled or compiled, viral videos, searched for the target audience appropriate and invested tens of thousands of euros both in the municipal as in the pre-campaign of the general to have an influence, above all, in favour of a party.
The third season
From the day of calling of elections until the start of the campaign, the 10 pages on Facebook that promoted critical messages with all the matches less with PP (and little bit with Vox) posted 56 ad and spent at least € 15,000 to reach between six and seven million impact on Facebook. These figures make this group of pages in the third campaign more important in the social network between 25 September and 31 October, behind United we Can and the European Parliament. Behind, although with levels of investment similar, are Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the European Commission, Ecoembes, Unhcr, Hyundai, or Most Country.
All the data comes from the Library of Ads of Facebook, which includes in its database the content of the posts in the socio-political. All advertisers should publish who pays the message and the social network gives approximate figures of expenditure, scope and target audience. These forks minimum and maximum prevent know with certainty the expenditure, which is undertaken every page, but the minimum investment required puts to the frame of false pages in the third place of the ranking.
During the period from the announcement of elections to the campaign, the electoral law does not allow ads. The Central Electoral Board warned first to United we Can, upon complaint of Citizens. But the party continued with their advertising because it understands that Facebook is a means other than the traditional. More Country and Vox were denounced by the PP, and they ceased their advertising. In Facebook, therefore, there were active two political campaigns in a period not allowed: the of United we Can, and this plot of pages in favor of the PP.
On Facebook there was only active two political campaigns in a period not allowed: United we Can and this plot of pages in favor of the PP
The 10 pages of the lattice have at least two things in common: the coincidence of administrators, and content. The temporal analysis shows best details. This network of pages comes from the local elections last may and even, probably, of the April general and 2018, but then Facebook had not launched his or her library. The first announcement of the network that retains Facebook is may 15, in page counter-power. Contains information against the candidate of Citizens in Murcia, Isabel Franco. The page was then managed by Javier Francisco Barralo Vincent. A day later, the same Barralo put out an ad entitled “andalusians don’t want to” against Susana Díaz, the socialist leader of andalusia, in the page to Retrieve the PSOE. Barralo you decide to spend only 100 euros. It seems like a test.
The next day, on the same page, but since no one firm as an administrator, the ad appears with video against Diaz with this text: “The andalusian, and the andalusian don’t want to…”. Two days later, on a page called If Spain wins the World, I will not eat octopus! and also no administrator appears in the same video, with a text almost identical: “The andalusians and andalusian do not want you!” Despite the fact that Susana Diaz was not presented to the autonomous community of may (Andalusia had held their elections in December 2018), both ads cost between 1,000 and 2,000 euros and amounted to between half a million and a million andalusians. Were aimed, primarily, older women. There is clearly a strategy.
At the time that the administrator of the website of the octopus rose to Facebook that ad against the former president of andalusia, he did so with six more. As on the night of the 6th of October, the author of these ads was something more than two hours. Also on a Sunday, in that case on may 19, a week before the election. If it was not the Ager or who did that work, I worked the same day and in the same way. The bet was perhaps the greatest of this network: over 10,000 euros in a single day, employees on all-in-one message: “Divide and lose”. In the video first appeared Albert Rivera, Pablo Casado and Santiago Abascal. Then I mentioned to Pedro Sanchez, who according to the recording, had taken advantage of a “strategy of division rivals”. And concluded as follows: “If we unite now, we stop the socialists”, on a blue background that reminds a party of the right in Spain.
The group makes a few more announcements in may and is off until the 26th of September, the day after the calling of elections for the 10 of November. The second ad in this stage is to Recover the PSOE, the 2 of October. It includes Barralo. The third on that same page, on the 3rd day, already puts Ager Solano, who assumes the administration of If Spain wins the World, I will not eat octopus! and the rest of the pages in the group. Barralo only reappear to pay the first announcement of the Association for the Defense of the Interests of Spain (ADIES). Then that association becomes a legal person and pay for the ads in his own name.
The last link that comes up is Josep Lanuza, manager of the page I with Íñigo and empleado of Sanmartin Politics, consultancy, Aleix Sanmartín, that in this campaign, working for Paul Married, according to has revealed the journal.is. The four ads on the page of Lanuza that’s the same I don’t vote. It is one of the pages with the greatest investment for only four ads. Unlike other pages of the plot, I with Íñigo focuses on the same places where it presents More Country. There is another detail which may indicate knowledge and strategy to promote abstention among voters from the left: not your aim are young people, but older.
These patterns chronological also agree with the geography. Some announcements of the Association for the Defense of the Interests of Spain have a strange interest in local affairs in Andalusia. Also, the last pages employed by Ager are on Murcia and the environmental catastrophe of the mar Menor. Aspire to promote a “study” that says that the tragedy has nothing to do with the waste.